Archive | December, 2009

27 December 2009 ~ 0 Comments

do, be, do

do, be, do

Either you’re kicking ass or you’re getting your ass kicked.

Either way, you’re doing something instead of just sitting on your butt watching the world go by. Action, whether positive or negative, is the only critical component to success.

Don’t talk. Don’t watch. Do it.

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24 December 2009 ~ 0 Comments

immaturity bites

immaturity bites

I regularly find myself trying to deal with someone and things simply aren’t working out. Usually I put this down to not having enough in common with the other person and occasionally going so far as to suspect I may have done something wrong or misunderstood the circumstances that led to the distancing.

While my own mingling inhibitions may be a factor – I read an interesting article on the Seattle Times website that, for at least some people I have come into contact with, would explain why I struggle to be able to communicate.

The article’s premise is that maturity is not related to age, and argues that most adults never reach more advanced stages of human development. Big statements to make.

From the article:

People who are less mature tend to engage in the following habits:

1. Black-and-white thinking with no gray area.

2. Inability to see the world from the perspective of others.

3. Low empathy.

4. Low tolerance for painful emotions.

5. Low tolerance for differences.

6. Lack of insight into themselves and others.

If you’re faced with someone with these characteristics, lower your age expectation and deal with them at the age they are acting – and not the age they are…

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20 December 2009 ~ 0 Comments

the when-we’s

the when-we’s

It’s hard not to dislike someone who constantly talks about their last job.

“When we worked on xyz project, we did this like this and that like that” etc.

They’re only talking about then because they have nothing to brag or get excited about with what they’re doing now.

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19 December 2009 ~ 0 Comments

fit and shan

fit and shan

(adapted from a Nov 2006 article I wrote that spoke specifically in software terms, but now refers to problems in a more general context)

Problems are not a bad thing. Really, they are not.

They do exist and no-one can or should deny that they do not. However, hide them from everyone who cares about what you’re doing and you will make them suspicious. In life there is very little perfection, only progression.

Hide flaws and faults with one cover-up lie then forces another one, which turns into more lies… ad nauseam.

You must quit the fear and use problems to your advantage. They are a very visible indication that there is a continuous stream of positive activity surrounding what you do.

If you can fix problems quicker: great. If you can throw in a measure of new things while doing so then you begin to really play to the audience.

I cannot over emphasize that you have to give those on the receiving end of what you are creating detail of what is here now and a vision of what is to come. You don’t need to make any promises; simply build an expectation of what is ahead. Your ass doesn’t necessarily have to go on the proverbial line for everything you say, though it would be fantastic if you could back up words with action – as this leads to credibility and thereafter belief from the very people you are hoping will invest their attention in what you create.

The only sure way to demonstrate action is to expose in some detail the activities you are undertaking and the progress you are making with each one. Not everyone will be interested in the detail. However, it is visible and not hidden action which is important to humans. We are all naturally suspicious creatures and a perception of full disclosure of detail relating to anything we are interested satisfies our curiosity and allows us to delve deeper if we wish. It doesn’t mean that we will dig. Fine granular reviews as routine, even in tightly controlled industries, seldom happens in the business world.

However, with perceived visibility comes input too; mostly opinion, advice and priority. If you are faced with a long list of tasks, making these visible to the target audience will invoke feedback (especially if it’s not in their favor) and ultimately more focused action through volunteered input. The Internet is the perfect medium for this.

The natural problem discovery reaction for most is to hide the details and implications of what the fault is, log it in a private list somewhere and fix it before anyone finds out. Instinctively we feel that it is better for a customer or user not to know about an issue than to be alerted and concerned. This also buys the developers or creators time to create a fix before the actual problem is exposed. The hope is that the end user will never see the problem.

If a user has discovered the fault, send the relationship guys in to perform a smoke an mirrors magic act until such time as it is fixed and things have moved on. Pretend then to be responsible and customer-friendly.

If the problem were a big scary monster and the customer a child, then this would all make sense. For grown ups; problems and faults are a fact of life and must be handled in a responsible and orderly manner.

If someone can’t handle the truth and impact of bugs then they are a proverbial child and should be handled as such until they evolve into an adult. This may come across as harsh, however true to almost every inexperienced business.

If a business or personal hides, disguises or downplays problems and does not use them as tools of progression or mediums for input and involvement; then a problem remains a big scary monster that will drive fear and panic into all who come near it. Including users of what you’re pushing. Most of whom have alternative options. Also known as your competitors.

As a supplier, artist, business person or value generator you have to act responsibly with faults that have either been found (internally) or exposed (externally). I urge you to not hide these but expose them to your advantage. Nay, use them as points of creation to incite discussion and debate on not just the fix to the immediate issue but to collectively encompass what the fault exposes and organically shape the resultant solution to mutual benefit for all involved.

One person’s critical problem may be insignificant to others who use the product. Conversely, users may be finding faults that the creators never could. Interaction, disclosure, tracking and creativity all contribute to a positive, inclusive and relevant output.

To re-iterate a previous assertion: ensure that the front-end (sales, account management), back-end (support, development, planning) and customers/users interact regularly and with a single goal.

Problems are not bad. They’re simply a step towards perfection.

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18 December 2009 ~ 0 Comments

free balloons

free balloons

When it comes to choosing a restaurant to go to for dinner, my kids almost always choose Red Robin as their ‘dinner shop’ of choice.

Is the mac n cheese served there beyond compare to any of the surrounding establishments? C’mon, it’s mac n frikkin’ cheese. Hardly gourmet.

Do the staff perform somersaults in the aisles and present puppet shows while they eat? They’re friendly staff, but aren’t most restaurant servers? They’ve tips to earn.

The big Red Robin wandering around on some weeknights freaks the hell out of the kids, so it’s not that either.

When all is done, bill is paid and we’re heading out both kids get to choose which color balloon they want. The lady at the front desk fills it with helium and off we go home.

The entire choice to visit and eat and spend money at Red Robin is based on the free balloons.

What are your free balloons?

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17 December 2009 ~ 0 Comments

gary vaynerchuk in atlanta

gary vaynerchuk in atlanta

On Monday December 14, Gary Vaynerchuk rolled through Atlanta on the next stop of his Crush It! book tour. He signed books, chatted with everyone, gave a pretty awesome speech then spent an hour answering everyone’s questions.

Armed with my Canon HF100, here’s what I recorded while standing in the crowd. YouTube limits videos to 10 minutes only so it’s sliced into seven clips to cover all the talk and Q&A.

(I did ask Gary’s permission to put this on YouTube and he’s cool with it, so feel free to share it around)

If you want to view all the videos on YouTube = or the tweet friendly

Talk Part 1

Talk Part 2

Q&A Part 1

Q&A Part 2

Q&A Part 3

Q&A Part 4

Q&A Part 5

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16 December 2009 ~ 0 Comments

just me

just me

Another observation from my meeting Gary Vaynerchuk: Gary was never out of character.

He didn’t need to be because the online wine guy, Internet celebrity, author, entrepreneur, Jets fan and real life human being are all the same guy.

This has it advantages:

you never have to remember anything for each medium
The bullshit factor is zero.

credibility in bucketloads
The absence of dissonance between online and IRL is so far removed from the typical Hollywood film star ego-loaded personalities most have become so skeptical of.

the message is consistent is believable
The wine guy gives the same advice as the Internet business guy. He’s not making this stuff up or having it written in speeches for him. The talks he’s giving, regardless of location or event, have the same core messages.

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15 December 2009 ~ 0 Comments

thank you

thank you

Days ago I met Gary Vaynerchuk; wine guy and pretty damn successful entrepreneur. All that he is in his online persona is everything he is in real life.

However there’s one facet of his personality that’s near impossible to capture in a blog or video, and it’s something I so rarely see “in the wild”.

Every person who lined up to meet him, he thanked them. He looked them in the eyes and genuinely thanked them. You felt like this guy actually gave a shit that you bought his book and the fact that you did that has made his life better. He came across as humbled that every individual was there and it exuded as really meaning something positive to him.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is how it’s done. (Carefully watch the body language and amount of eye contact)

As those lined up made their way to him, Gary didn’t refuse a single request. Have a photo taken. Say “crush it” into a Flipcam. Sign books to anyone you want. Listen to personal experiences. Absorb praise and criticisms (there was some of that too). And then he humbly and genuinely thanked the person, shook their hand and carried on.

Pay attention to your fans. Thank the hell outta them when they do something for you, and mean it. Give a crap that someone did something because of you.

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15 December 2009 ~ 0 Comments

dead fish

dead fish

Only dead fish go with the flow. Are you a dead fish?

What would make you come to life again?

1. Start with a plan. Make it up if you have to. Give yourself somewhere to go that only you believe in. Maybe others too, but that’d be a bonus.

2. Understand that sitting on your ass doing nothing will result in nothing. If you are comfortable with that then you are scared of being something. Anything. Making a mistake means you have done something. If someone points out that you’ve made a mistake; you’ve done something and someone else has noticed. Use it. And do more.

3. It isn’t going to happen tomorrow, however the more conviction you have, the less scared you are and the greater momentum you will build. It is a metaphorical snowball of building and leading. If you genuinely believe in your plan or vision – it makes it a lot easier for everyone around you to believe.

4. Cut your steak up. It’s a pretty darn big steak and you’re not going to eat it with one bite. Handle everything in small and achievable chunks that end. The whole steak will change shape as you eat it. Cut the next piece a different way then. You can. Just cut it though, don’t simply stare at it.

The only person you have to answer to is yourself. When you’re dead what exactly will be said at your funeral? Will anyone actually turn up for it? Will the people you know give an average speech? Maybe a cut ‘n paste job from the priest or Internet? Will your kids and spouse say just the right and safe and normal and expected things to say about you at a public gathering like that?

It’s too late for you to care at that point. Or, more importantly, do anything about having lived an average life. But so what?

Will they verbalize publicly on how much of a source of inspiration you were to them personally – would that mean something to how you lived today? How you altered the path of their lives because of the manner in which you bulldozed your way through everything that stood in the way of yours? Have them tell tens, hundreds or even thousands of people at their most grieving time that they are better because you lived. Really, fully lived. Like they wish they would themselves.

Or would it be the same speech as could be used around a toilet to flush away a dead fish?

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14 December 2009 ~ 0 Comments

good morning (every morning)

good morning (every morning)

Bounce out of bed (with a useful attitude of course) and carry out the usual shit, shave, shower, shampoo routine. Then spend five or ten minutes adding something new to your blog that you learned yesterday or that’s buzzing in your life right now.

*Now* your days begins.

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